From The Washington Coalition For Gifted Education – May 2nd

Your Action is Needed Immediately! Last chance to influence Highly Capable funding – contact the legislators below.

“Legislature Determines That Access to Highly Capable Basic Education Must Continue to Depend on Your Zip Code”

This might well be the headline, UNLESS YOU CHANGE IT. Today, 40% of districts offer no programs or services for their most advanced learners. Not surprisingly, inequalities in access and programming disproportionately affect small and rural districts, minorities, and poor students. The Legislature has done nothing to remedy the situation for the future.

There is no other part of basic education that is being told that to ensure proper funding, parents must go to their local school boards and ask for it. Access to highly capable programming needs to be uniform statewide and should not depend on your zip code.

The state Constitution requires that the state fully fund basic education for all students and HCP services are basic education for gifted students.

Relying on local school districts to decide whether or how to fund a portion of basic education is neither fair nor equitable.  The McCleary Decision says it is unconstitutional. Today’s state funding level – 2.314% of enrollment, unchanged since 2007- is demonstrably inadequate.

The Legislature must correct this situation in this session for all of Washington’s Highly Capable children, and follow the Quality Education Council’s recommendation for increased funding at 5% of enrollment.

What you need to do today:

Please use this message, or compose one of your own, and send it to each of the legislators listed below. Not all are participating in the budget negotiations but all have influence with those who are.

You may wish to use the Legislative Hotline but that requires a much shorter and more concise message.  1.800.562.6000

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ACTION ALERT! – From The Washington Coalition For Gifted Education – April 22nd

Time is running out to get the HCP funding formula changed. The last bill alive is HB 2051, which was heard in the House Appropriations Committee this morning. Because of the short notice given on this bill HCP advocates were not able to testify. We need you to flood the House Appropriations Committee with messages before the executive session tomorrow (April 23) at 10:00am. So please get your emails and hot line messages in before then.

We oppose Section 3(10)( c) of HB 2051 for Highly Capable Program funding. The Legislature asked OSPI and the State Gifted Advisory in 2010 to define what constitutes a basic education program for Highly Capable students. These recommendations, including an appropriate state-level funding structure, were sent to the Quality Education Council which has three times adopted them and sent them to the Legislature.

Yet, Highly Capable is the only basic education program that has not received increased funding in the $1.3 billion McCleary appropriations proposals before the Legislature.

Highly Capable Programs are an integral part of basic education which means Highly Capable students as a class are entitled to a basic education. A basic education no matter what district they attend. Students who are sometimes identified as behavior problems in elementary school or who might become drop outs in middle and high school are often unidentified gifted students whose needs have not been assessed and addressed. Gifted students in small, rural, and high poverty school districts are entitled to the same opportunities for a basic education as those in urban and wealthy districts. Current funding levels do not provide this opportunity. Requiring parents of Highly Capable students to lobby their school board to ensure access to a basic education in NOT equitable, yet that is what the current level of state funding requires them to do.

Ask legislators to please fund Highly Capable Programs at the 5% of FTE level and at the hours recommended by the QEC. Providing Highly Capable Students a basic education is good for both the students and the State.

Please contact the members of the House Appropriations Committee as soon as possible. Use any of the information provided above to formulate your message. A list of committee members follows. Because using the Legislature’s email service requires you be a resident of the district, you will need to email each member separately. The format for names is FirstName.LastName@leg.wa.gov. It may be easier to use the Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000.
If you do so, be sure to write out your message before placing the call. Operators take down your message verbatim and send it on to the legislators so having it written out before you begin ensures your message is clear and gets to the legislators as you composed it.

Ross Hunter, Chair
Timm Ormsby, Vice Chair
Gary Alexander, Ranking Minority Member
Bruce Chandler
J.T. Wilcox
Vincent Buys
Reuven Carlyle
Eileen Cody
Cathy Dahlquist
Hans Dunshee
Susan Fagan
Tami Green
Kathy Haigh
Larry Haler
Paul Harris
Zack Hudgins
Sam Hunt
Laurie Jinkins
Ruth Kagi
Marcie Maxwell
Dawn Morrell
Kevin Parker
Jamie Pedersen
Eric Pettigrew
Liz Pike
Charles Ross
Joe Schmick
Larry Seaquist
Pat Sullivan
David Taylor

Also, our Facebook and Blog pages have the committee members names as link in your email program. Will save you the effort of entering all of them yourself.
http://www.facebook.com/wagifted
http://wcge.wordpress.com

We really need you to make this effort!!!!

This may well be our last chance to influence the budget this session. Please contact the above legislators before 10:00am Tuesday morning!

Thank you for your advocacy for and support of our Highly Capable students.

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